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Child Reached Age-Appropriate Milestones

Age: 11 years old
Gender: Male
Location: Hobart, TAS
Practice: Speech Pathology Tasmania: Coach - Linda McKillop (Hobart)

Background: The client was an 11 year old boy who was anxious due to not coping at school with any work.  After thorough investigation, there was no medical or biological reason for this child to not be able to read at an age-appropriate level and cope with school.  Cogmed was a viable intervention for this issue.

Key challenges:

  • Not coping at school with any work
  • Not able to read at age-appropriate level
  • Anxiety related to lack of coping at school

Upon explaining the purpose of doing Cogmed, even though it will be challenging, the child was very happy to do the Cogmed program.  As the weeks went by, it was harder to motivate him but money as a reward was a great motivator for this child.  Ultimately, the child always knew that Cogmed was helping him even though it was hard work.

The parent of this child explained that Cogmed was completed before dinner and replaced computer-game playing - the child knew that the sooner he completed his Cogmed exercises, the sooner he could play his computer games.  Being the Training Aide (i.e. supervising the child while they complete Cogmed each day) was not difficult as it was only for a specific time period.  The parent found that their son was happier and quicker in completing his Cogmed if they sat with him and encouraged him throughout the sessions.  

Once Cogmed was finished, the parents noticed that the child appeared less anxious and there was an eventual improvement in reading and general school work.

For other parents contemplating Cogmed: “It is well worth the time and effort”. They saw great results for their child and one of their child's classmates who had also done Cogmed.  

 Training outcomes:

  • Reached age-appropriate milestones
  • Improved reading
  • Less anxious
  • Improvement in general school work

Increased Confidence and Academic Improvement

Age: 13 years old
Gender: Male
Location: Moonee Ponds, VIC
Practice: Muriel Neish - Learn Quick Smart (VIC)

Background: The client was a 13 year old boy who attended Learn Quick Smart for tutoring initially.  His Coach, Muriel Neish, advised the boy's parents that he was a candidate for Cogmed.

Key challenges:

  • Frustrated by inability to recall long verbal instructions
  • Unable to concentrate in a noisy classroom
  • Math ability compromised by inability to carry out mental calculations 
  • Reading comprehension diminished as sentence length and complexity increased
  • Spelling and writing skills compromised by his inability to remember the sequence of letters in words and words in sentences
  • Overall, a limited working memory was substantially affecting this student's ability to reach his education potential

This Grade 6 student recognised that the step up to secondary school the following year was going to be a challenge. Once he understood how Cogmed could help him improve his working memory and attention, he applied himself well.  He completed the program 5 times per week for 5 weeks.  

His willingness to complete the program was supported by his family who encouraged him, provided appropriate space at home and established a strict schedule for training. This was discussed with the student so he felt part of the planning process and so was happier to comply knowing activities that were important to him would not be affected.  With the approval of his school, homework was reduced for the period of the program to minimise the load on the student.  Both before and after school sessions were scheduled depending on what other commitments had to be met each week.  His parents kept him motivated with small rewards at the completion of each week.  He especially liked it when he was able to choose what his mother would prepare for the evening meal.  These small rewards were an acknowledgement of his perseverance and effort and helped to keep him motivated when he became tired.  

There were challenges:  the novelty began to wear off, it seemed unfair that his siblings didn’t have to spend that time training, some exercises proved to be more difficult than expected.  It was the encouragement of his parents and his success in the other exercises that kept him going.

The student was elated at his final improvement score.  He was more confident and very proud of his achievement.  He proudly told his tutor that his maths was improving because his 'memory is better'.  His tutor suggests Cogmed Training as an invaluable training program for students who want to improve working memory capacity and educational outcomes.  The positive improvements are particularly evident in how one processes and remembers post-Cogmed Training.

Training outcomes:

  • Academic improvement overall
  • Improved spelling
  • Improvement carrying out mental calculations: his tables have improved and he is completing longer mathematical processes
  • His verbal and written sentences have become longer and more complex 
  • Improved reading comprehension
  • Settled into secondary schooling this year happily and quickly
  • Speaks more confidently at school and with peers

Smooth Transition from Primary School to High School

Age: 12 years old
Gender: Female
Location: Swan Hill, VIC
Practice: Monique Ryan - Private Practice (VIC)

Background: The client was a 12 year old girl.  Her parents had widespread concerns . Though their daughter was born 12 weeks premature, she had reached all her developmental milestones really early, so they did not notice her academic struggle until grade 3.  

Key challenges:

  • Difficulty with literacy - reading, spelling
  • Low confidence and belief in own abilities
  • Miserable, avoidant of challenging situations, feared 'having a go'
  • Poor memory
  • Anxious about school work, feeling 'lost and self-conscious'

Despite busy family life with four children, the client’s parents decided with Cogmed Coach, Monique Ryan, that Cogmed would be a beneficial intervention for their daughter.  The 12 year old coped very well and went into the Cogmed Training with great enthusiasm and high levels of intrinsic motivation, although there were moments of frustration during some of the exercises.  Parents reported that they really enjoyed watching their daughter complete the program and found the feedback encouraging. The Cogmed Coach was “amazing”. “We believe we received such great results because we had such an enthusiastic, passionate Coach.  Monique was really guiding us and encouraging us all the way”.   These parents have seen many positive changes in their daughter and are very pleased.  They highly recommend doing Cogmed first thing in the morning, pushing through when it gets challenging. “Never stop encouraging your child”.

Training outcomes:

Jessica's family have noticed a 'huge difference' in their daughter, particularly:

  • A willingness to have a go at any task given, less fear of making mistakes or asking questions
  • Happiness levels have increased
  • Reduced anxiety
  • Improved Working Memory
  • Sleeps more soundly
  • Finds school work easier
  • Excited about school, with a smooth transition into high school
  • Reading much more fluently
  • Homework sessions 'have been a breeze'
  • Quality of work produced is noticeably improved.

Less Anxious About School

Age: 10 years old
Gender: Male
Location: Canterbury, Melbourne VIC
Practice: Simone Mossop - Ready Step Grow (VIC)

Background: The client was a 10 year old boy with Working Memory constraints.

Key challenges:

  • Difficulty performing and memorising more than one task at a time
  • Poor attention and focus
  • Struggled with organising himself

This young boy completed his Cogmed Working Memory Training during his school holidays, every morning for 5 days per week for 5 weeks.  His parents shared the role of supervising him during each session.  They admit supervising the training was trying at times as the program is designed to challenge the User, but they were able to learn more about their son's abilities and capacities, as well as watch him improve over the 25 sessions.  This knowledge about their son and his improvement in the Cogmed Program was complemented by the information shared during the weekly Coach Calls with Cogmed Coach, Simone Mossop.  It was all the encouragement, weekly rewards and review of the results online that helped to keep their son motivated.  Mum commented that Cogmed 'is like yoga for the brain - it stretches your child's concentration and focus'. On seeing his son’s improvement, Dad reported “it is as if he has caught a glimpse of his true potential”.

Training outcomes:

  • Child is calmer and manages stress/busy days a lot better
  • Less anxious about school
  • More organised
  • More drive to do homework
  • Able to stay focused on homework

Outcomes Are Worth the Effort

Age: 7 years old
Gender: Female
Location: Narraweena, North Sydney NSW
Practice: Viv Covey - Memory Plus (NSW)

Background: The client was a 7 year old girl who was at the bottom of her class for everything despite being very bright.  Full Scale IQ showed the child was in the 'Superior' range, however, her Working Memory Index was extremely low in the 9th percentile.

Key challenges:

  • Difficulty following directions
  • Literacy and numeracy
  • Poor attention and focus

The child completed her Cogmed Training, with mum supervising as her Training Aide, every day after school for 5 weeks.  The child's mother stated that her daughter found the program challenging and frustrating at times - it was most certainly hard work! Implementing rewards, having weekly Coach Calls with Cogmed Coach, Viv Covey, and seeing the improvement in her program scores really motivated the child to remain compliant and committed to finishing each of the 25 sessions.  The child's mother advised the Coach that although it was hard work, the outcome is “certainly worth the effort”.  “Life gets easier all round” after Cogmed training.

Training outcomes:

  • Greater focus and attention
  • Improved ability to follow directions
  • Working Memory Index is now at the 86th percentile

Parent Happy with Cogmed Outcomes for her Daughter, saying it was 'Well Worth the Investment'

Age: 12 years old
Gender: Female
Location: North Beach, WA
Practice: Christine Hayes - Word for Word Education Services (WA)

Background: The client was a 12 year old girl with attentional and comprehension difficulties.

Key challenges:

  • Poor concentration
  • Inability to retain instructions
  • Difficulties with reading comprehension

The client's mother advised Cogmed Coach, Christine Hayes, that her daughter appeared to be a bright girl, but something 'not quite right'.  The client engaged in Cogmed Working Memory Training enthusiastically, believing she could improve and worked hard the whole time.  The family decided the client will start Cogmed Training in the school holidays and then finish the final weeks in the beginning of school term.  The client completed her Cogmed Training sessions in the morning of school holidays and after school in term time.  The family negotiated a break in homework with the school teacher.  Although it was difficult to fit Cogmed Training into a busy school and social schedule, the client found a routine that suited her and was motivated by the rewards. The personalised incentives were varied and included a DVD and popcorn night at home and chocolate...... with the final reward being a pedicure! The client's mother: “Cogmed was well worth the investment”. 

Training outcomes:

The parents and teacher report they have noticed improvements in:

  • Concentration
  • Listening to and remembering instructions
  • Retention of new learning
  • Organisation
  • Self-confidence
  • Forward planning
  • Engaging in reading a lot more
  • Neatness in presentation of work

The most significant change for the client in class, post-Cogmed Training, has been in reading comprehension.  The whole class was assessed using a comprehension test and the client had improved so much that the teacher ran out of the classroom after school to find the mother and let her know!

Positive Changes in Communication, Play and Organisation

Age: 11 years old
Gender: Female
Location: Moulamein, NSW
Practice: Monique Ryan - Private Practice (VIC)

Background: The client was a girl with poor attention, organisation and school performance.

Key challenges:

  • Lack of attention
  • Poor organisation
  • Behind academically with difficulties in reading and spelling

The client coped well with the Cogmed Training.  Although there were moments of frustration in the beginning, this 11 year old was motivated to 'get it done' so she could move forward with the rest of her day.  Her mother reports that the rewards really helped. Knowing that it was only for 5 weeks helped too “there was a light at the end of the tunnel”.  As a parent it can be tough to remain calm and supportive when your child is frustrated, but this mum found it a rewarding experience, she enjoyed seeing her daughter make progress in the program.  The family managed to fit Cogmed in before school. Her teachers were understanding and supportive as well. These parents have seen such great improvements in their child that her advice to parents contemplating Cogmed for their child would be, “Don’t put it off. My only regret is that I didn't know about Cogmed sooner”.

Training outcomes:

Mother reports some significant improvements in Annie's behaviour.  

  • Increase in conversation - Prior to the program, Annie communicated well but did not readily engage in 2-way conversations for any length of time.  Now she sits at a table of family members voluntarily (long after the completion of the meal) chatting to others, often instigating conversations and really enjoying herself!  
  • Shift in play activities - away from the usual solitary, mundane, repetitive play to wanting more stimulating things to keep her occupied.
  • Improved organisation skills – Mum can see differences in the morning routine, with daughter  more able to prioritise what is to be done and organise herself to get ready for school.  "Our mornings run much more smoothly, as does life in general"!

Summer Holiday Success

Age: 12 years old
Gender: Male
Location: Melbourne, Victoria
Practice: Anna Evans - Brain and Language Connections (VIC)

Background: Diagnosis of ADHD.

Key challenges:

  • Difficulty with Working Memory and understanding new concepts
  • Struggling academically, particularly with Maths and English
  • Social difficulties
  • Difficulty following multi-step instructions at school and home
  • Difficulty maintaining focus during homework tasks

The client began the Cogmed Working Memory Training in the summer holidays, so it was easy to fit it into the day, without the pressure of school, homework and sports.  The child's mother reported that Cogmed Training was easier to implement than expected and her son was very motivated to complete the program each scheduled day.  Rewards and stickers were used for external motivation.  

Training outcomes:

  • Now able to follow 3-stage instructions
  • Large improvement with his ability to focus at school and on his homework
  • Has been very responsible and motivated to do his homework
  • Teacher of his Humanities subject at school has reported the child is able to hold his attention for the 80 minute class.
  • Upon returning to school after the summer holidays it only took him one week to grasp the timetable and getting to the correct classroom for each class
  • The child has reported that it is easier for him to remember new information

Parent Impressed with Changes

Age: 8 years old
Gender: Male
Location: Melbourne, Victoria
Practice: Simone Mossop - ReadyStepGrow (VIC)

Background: The client was a boy who was struggling with a reading delay.

Key challenges:

  • Reluctant to read, with limited sight word recognition
  • Difficulty maintaining focus
  • 'Hated' school
  • Struggled with reading and writing
  • Unable to stay still at group time
  • Required lots of reminders for complying with parent requests

The client began the Cogmed Working Memory Training with enthusiasm, however as the program became more difficult he required lots of encouragement.  The client's mother reported that support from Cogmed coach greatly contributed towards the client's motivation as well as achieving his goals.  The parent’s role as the Training Aide was challenging at times, but manageable with a well-structured schedule. He completed his training before the school day began.  “Having my son complete Cogmed Working Memory Training was worth the effort. The results have been impressive.  I encourage other parents to give it a go”!

Training outcomes:

  • More settled, less movement and fidgeting
  • Able to focus a lot more when sitting to read and write
  • More compliant with doing what is asked of him - such as getting dressed on his own and following requests from parents, including requests to modify behaviour
  • Increased sight word recognition
  • No longer reluctant to 'have a go' at reading and writing
  • Class teacher has noticed improvement
  • Child reported feeling more confident with reading and writing

Teacher Amazed at Progress

Age: 10 years old
Gender: Male
Location: Victoria
Practice: Lewis and Lewis (VIC)

Background: The client was a boy who had been diagnosed with ADHD. He had a history of learning difficulties. He had also been accessing Reading Recovery for literacy and Speech Therapy to address poor phonological awareness skills.

Key challenges:

  • Disorganised
  • Difficulty retaining instructions and previously taught material
  • Difficulty maintaining attention and concentration
  • As a result of his literacy and numeracy difficulties his teacher wanted to place him on a modified program even though his IQ was within the normal range
  • Messy writing

Training outcomes:

  • Teacher was amazed at his progress and no longer felt he needed to be placed on a modified program. Literacy and numeracy improved to average range.
  • Parents reported that his first school report after completion of Cogmed was the best report he had ever received.
  • More organized and attentive.
  • Writing also improved.
  • Child reported that it felt like his brain was ‘uncorked’ after Cogmed.

Big Leap in Confidence

Age: 9
Gender: Male
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Practice: Dr Peter Watson (Paediatrician) and Jenny Fisher - Working Memory New Zealand

Background:
“Sam is my 9 year old son. I would say he is incredibly bright - can tell me how an engine works, thrives on the history and discovery channel. Unfortunately for Sam, school is hard. He struggles greatly to write, he virtually cannot spell and is most often forgetful and disorganised. Other than for reading, Sam is in the "bottom group" for each subject at school and while he is happy I worry that he may soon become disillusioned and reluctant to continue with school.

We have been looking for further help for Sam and asked around school and looked on the internet. As tempting as it was to go with a program that promised a quick fix we chose Cogmed because it didn't!  We also opted to go with Cogmed because of Jenny and Pete - both intellectual but very personable people who were so understanding and seemed to know what we were feeling and the outcome we were hoping for with Sam. Equally important was how they were when meeting and assessing Sam.

In the first couple of weeks of Cogmed we noticed that Sam was prepared to attempt a computer based Maths learning program which he would not do previously. Now at Cogmed week 5 he is requesting to go onto the Math program and although his "level" is low he is happily trying and completing the stages. It is great to see the smile on his face when he achieves (he NEVER persevered before). I feel that Sam now follows through with things. School notices make it home from school, messages are relayed and Sam seems to be better organised. Sam's teacher has also noticed a change in this area.

Sam has said that he thinks Cogmed has "helped". He told me that he feels it has made it easier to concentrate. We can see a big leap in his confidence to attempt things. Although we have been told that results are usually shown around the 6 month mark we are very pleased with subtle changes in Sam already and we are very, very pleased that we committed to Cogmed”.

Key challenges:

  • Had great difficulty remembering what he heard
  • Poor writer, reader and speller
  • Consistently forgot about his homework
  • Disorganized and had a hard time persevering with tasks
  • Was in “bottom classes” for most subjects at school

Training outcomes:

  • Turns in homework without being reminded
  • Improved auditory memory – it is now much easier to concentrate
  • Is much more organized – misplaces his things less
  • Ability to start and complete tasks is greatly improved
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